This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By clicking or navigating the site you agree to allow our collection of information through cookies. More info

Posted on Friday April 16, 2021

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Research and Digital Cultural Heritage: New Impact Horizons

At this symposium, Europeana brought together cultural heritage professionals, policy makers, academics and researchers to discuss impact horizons of research nurtured by digital cultural heritage.

Digital content and technology democratise access to cultural heritage and can stimulate positive social and economic change, especially when they support Research and Innovation. The cultural heritage sector is exploring new ways of community engagement, participatory and co-creation processes, in parallel with researchers in the Social Sciences and Humanities, who are the most interested in the potential reuse of digital cultural heritage. For their part, policy-makers and funders increasingly require social impact to be considered in research design and outcomes.

In September 2020, the European Commission launched the new European Research Area (ERA) for Research and Innovation, putting at its core 'the engagement of citizens, local communities and civil society … to achieve greater social impact and increased trust in science'. Europeana’s commitment to fostering social impact is reflected in the continued development of the Europeana Impact framework, which puts stakeholders - those for whom we want to make an impact - right at the forefront in designing strategies and activities. This framework was conceived for the cultural heritage sector but its principles are transversal. Europeana now aims to test its usefulness in the research and innovation area through Europeana Research’s activities and networks.

This symposium was the first event to brings together an impact-oriented approach and the research perspective within the Europeana context. The scientific committee arranged the programme across four sessions to facilitate participation from different time zones. Twenty speakers represented the research and cultural heritage sectors and the policy making sphere. 

You can watch recordings from the symposium in the videos below!

Session 1 - Impact, Policy and Innovation, 11 May 2021, 10.30-12.00 CEST 

Welcome by Harry Verwayen, General Director, Europeana Foundation

Introduction by Julia Fallon, Manager of the Community & Partner Engagement Team, Europeana Foundation 

Moderator: Sally Chambers, Digital Humanities Research Coordinator, Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities and DATA-KBR-BE Project Coordinator, KBR Royal Library of Belgium


  • Harald Hartung, Head of Unit 'Fair Societies & Cultural Heritage', European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Cultural Heritage in the Horizon Europe funding programme for Research & Innovation
  • Jennifer Edmond, President of the DARIAH Board of Directors, Who's impact is it anyway? Designing a systematic impact assessment programme for the DARIAH ERIC
  • Wojciech Sowa, Chair of HERA | Humanities in the European Research Area, One or many? Innovation in humanities and the problem of impact. The case of the transnational humanities research (HERA 2009-2019)
  • Inge Van Nieuwerburgh, Coordinator of scholarly communication, Ghent University, partner OpenAIRE, EOSC-Pillar, EOSC-Future, Open Science at the heart of collaboration 

Session 2 - Poetics and Politics of Digitisation: Constructing Collections and Social Impact, 11 May 2021, 17.00-18.30 CEST

Moderator: Robin Boast, Professor, University of Amsterdam 


  • Rossitza Atanassova, Digital Curator, British Library, Contextualising digital cultural heritage
  • Seamus Ross, Professor in the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Reinforcing traditional cultural attitudes and ways of knowing in memory institutions through digital privileging
  • Haidy Geismar, Professor of Anthropology, University College London, Is social media the next ethnographic collection?
  • Gerben Zaagsma, Assistant Professor, Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) at the University of Luxembourg, Digital cultural heritage and the politics of digitisation 

Session 3 - Citizen Science and Engagement: Conditions for Impact in Digital Cultural Heritage, 12 May 2021, 10.30-12.00 CEST

Moderator: Koraljka Golub, Professor, Head of the iInstitute, co-leader of the Digital Humanities Initiative at Linnaeus University


  • Natalie Harrower, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland at the Royal Irish Academy, What is the history you want to see written? ... and other adventures in digital preservation 
  • Chiara Bonacchi, Senior Lecturer in Heritage, University of Stirling, Participants and participation in heritage crowdsourcing
  • Maria Drabczyk, Chief International Projects Expert, National Film Archive - Audiovisual Institute Poland, Understanding the social value of cultural heritage organisations 
  • Nadezhda Povroznik, Associate Professor and Head of the Center for Digital Humanities at Perm State University, Engaging with museum treasures via digital means: From curiosity to the social value 

Session 4 - Digital Audiences, Socio-political Perspectives and Participatory Methods, 12 May 2021, 17.00-18.30 CEST

Moderator: Costis Dallas, Associate Professor, University of Toronto 


  • Geert Lovink, Researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures (INC), Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Stacktivism and the organised networks approach
  • Anat Ben David, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication, Co-funder of the Open Media and Information Lab at The Open University of Israel, Archiving social media as a 'boundary work'
  • Jenny Kidd, Reader and Director of Postgraduate Research, School of Journalism, Media and Culture, University of Cardiff, Exploring digital engagement via Twitter in the early weeks of the pandemic 
  • Maria Paula Arias, Lecturer in Digital Media and Enterprise, Manchester Metropolitan University, Exploring a Twitter conversation beyond its hashtag  


  • Alba Irollo, Europeana Research Coordinator 
  • Nicole Mc Neilly, Europeana Impact Advisor

Scientific Committee

  • Robin Boast, University of Amsterdam
  • Sally Chambers, Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities and KBR Royal Library of Belgium
  • Costis Dallas, University of Toronto
  • Koraljka Golub, Linnaeus University
  • Jenny Kidd, Cardiff University
  • Alba Irollo, Europeana Foundation
  • Nicole Mc Neilly, Europeana Foundation
  • Seamus Ross, University of Toronto